By United Nations

6 July - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his disappointment over the continued fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state and called on the parties to agree to a cessation of hostilities.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson last night, Mr. Ban deplored the grave humanitarian impact of the fighting between northern and southern forces that has displaced an estimated 73,000 people since it began a few weeks ago.

β€œThe Secretary-General calls on the parties to immediately cease hostilities, ensure the protection of civilians and provide all support necessary for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need,” the statement said.

The fact that the parties have not agreed to a cessation of hostilities is particularly concerning in light of the fact that the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) will end on 9 July, when the interim period of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement – the historic 2005 accord that ended the decades-long north-south civil war in Sudan – comes to an end.

It is also the same day that South Sudan officially becomes independent after the referendum staged in January in accordance with the provisions of the CPA.

The mission has been supporting the implementation of the agreement by providing good offices and political support to the parties, monitoring and verifying their security arrangements and offering assistance in a number of areas, including governance, recovery and development.

In yesterday's statement, Mr. Ban called on the parties to resolve the underlying issues to the conflict through political dialogue, building on the Framework Agreement on political and security arrangements for South Kordofan signed last week between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM-North).

He offered the UN's continued support to the Sudanese Government and all stakeholders toward resolving the conflict, implementing a ceasefire, and facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need.